A 19th century French aristocrat, notorious for his scathing memoirs about life in Russia, travels through the Russian State Hermitage Museum and encounters historical figures from the last 200+ years.

Director:

Aleksandr Sokurov

Writers:

Boris Khaimsky (dialogue), Anatoli Nikiforov | 3 more credits »
10 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sergey Dreyden ... The Stranger (The Marquis de Custine)
Mariya Kuznetsova Mariya Kuznetsova ... Catherine The Great
Leonid Mozgovoy Leonid Mozgovoy ... The Spy
Mikhail Piotrovsky Mikhail Piotrovsky ... Self (Hermitage Director)
David Giorgobiani ... Orbeli
Aleksandr Chaban ... Boris Piotrovsky
Lev Eliseev ... Self
Oleg Khmelnitsky Oleg Khmelnitsky ... Self
Alla Osipenko ... Self
Artyom Strelnikov Artyom Strelnikov ... Talented Boy
Tamara Kurenkova Tamara Kurenkova ... Self (Blind Woman)
Maksim Sergeev ... Peter the Great
Natalya Nikulenko Natalya Nikulenko ... Catherine the Great
Elena Rufanova Elena Rufanova ... First Lady
Yelena Spiridonova Yelena Spiridonova ... Second Lady
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Storyline

An unseen man regains consciousness, not knowing who or where he is. No one seems to be able to see him, except the mysterious man dressed in black. He eventually learns through their discussions that this man is a 19th century French aristocrat, who he coins the "European". This turn of events is unusual as the unseen man has a knowledge of the present day. The two quickly learn that they are in the Winter Palace of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, the European who has a comprehensive knowledge of Russian history to his time. As the two travel through the palace and its grounds, they interact with people from various eras of Russian history, either through events that have happened at the palace or through the viewing of artifacts housed in the museum. Ultimately, the unseen man's desired journey is to move forward, with or without his European companion. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

2000 cast members, 3 orchestras, 33 rooms, 300 years, ALL IN ONE TAKE See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Because the Hermitage museum had to be shut down, the production had only one day to shoot the film. See more »

Goofs

Many of the historical costumes are clearly modern. For example, in one scene, Catherine the Great is wearing a gown that zips up the back. See more »

Quotes

Alla Osipenko: This painting and I; we have a secret.
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Connections

Edited into Spisok korabley (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Mazurka
(from opera "A Life For The Tsar")
Music by Mikhail Glinka
Performed by Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra
Conducted by Valery Gergiev
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User Reviews

 
9/10
16 February 2004 | by desperatelivingSee all my reviews

This documentary-type movie, done all in one long, unbroken take with a steadicam, has the camera basically hovering around a famous Russian museum for an hour and-a-half as the unseen film director (both by us and the others in the museum) makes comments, as if in a dream, and converses with a French, former diplomat from the 1800s. It's a mix of a museum tour, Russian history, and performance art -- Catherine the Great appears at one point, desperately looking for the toilet. I liked it because it's about the closest thing to a dreamstate you can get in film, something like the long tracking shots in Tarkovsky's movies; I didn't get a lot of the references to Russian historical figures, but it doesn't really matter. However, if you know Russian history, you may get extra enjoyment out of it and might latch onto the sarcastic bits better than I did. I think this is a real achievement; a perfect example of how style is substance. 9/10


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Details

Country:

Russia | Germany | Japan | Canada | Finland | Denmark

Language:

Russian | Persian

Release Date:

19 April 2003 (Russia) See more »

Also Known As:

Russian Ark See more »

Filming Locations:

Russia See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$29,022, 15 December 2002

Gross USA:

$3,048,997

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$8,690,168
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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